From a young age, most women hope to join the "mom club" one day. For the majority of women, motherhood comes easily. But for some of us, babies seem just out of reach. Whether our grief comes in the form of struggling to conceive, facing recurrent miscarriages, or a touch of both, we watch our friends join the “mom club” effortlessly, and infertility becomes isolating.
Though I’ve yet to live it out further than my womb, I see why motherhood is hard. It's no wonder such a self-sacrificial stage of life would leave women desiring fellowship with other moms. Multitudes of mom groups exist for this reason. But when moms isolate themselves from women with other interests and in other seasons, they lose the benefits of interaction with the full body of believers. Those within the Church have Christ in common, making it possible to maintain true fellowship with any Christ-following sister.
Mamas, You Need Friends Who are Struggling With Infertility
Mamas, you need your friend struggling with infertility. Spending time with women who don't have children serves as a reminder of the real goal: glorifying Jesus above all. As you dive into conversations about birth stories and the benefits of cloth diapers, remember that around some sisters, this may distract from deeper fellowship. Building relationships with women who haven’t entered the season of motherhood helps you to find your commonality in Christ, opening the door for edifying and encouraging each other in him.
Your Friends Walking Through Infertility Need You, Too
Women walking through various forms of infertility are extremely prone to isolation. We hear of play-dates and family hangouts we're not invited to. We sit silently in conversations about breastfeeding and sleep training. Social media becomes a painful reminder of our lack. Our pain is less visible than a baby bump, so we often feel overlooked next to the rejoicing over our pregnant sisters. It's not that we want to stop the rejoicing, but who will weep with us? As our season of suffering continues and our grief deepens, who will remember us? We need our friends who have living children to enter into this burden like Jesus would. They have a unique ability to help the childless feel welcomed. In doing so, they also point them to Christ in whom their hope is found.
Though the exclusion is rarely intentional, moms of young children should grow in awareness, compassion, thoughtfulness, and care for the sake of their hurting sisters. Through the gospel, barriers are broken down and the love of Christ is shown to those whose life looks different than ours.
This Hard Work is Good Work
It isn’t easy for young moms to reach out to sisters who are experiencing fertility issues. You might feel guilty over the baby in your arms. You might worry you'll say the wrong thing. These are understandable fears and concerns, but when the Bible commands us to bear the burdens of others, there are no exceptions.
We can’t expect burdens to be easy to bear. It's hard to "weep with those who weep." It forces us to lay aside self, allowing our hearts to feel the weighty sorrow of someone else. Here lies a call to grip the burden with both hands and lift it, striving to take a portion of the weight off the back of our sister. It's a call to be like Jesus.
We may assume hard equals bad. But this isn't true. Hard things are often the best path for us. Bearing the burdens of the childless is gospel work. Jesus sought the isolated. When moms of young children seek to welcome the childless into their community, they display Jesus to the world. They show that surface-level commonalities take a back seat to the gospel. If Jesus only invested in those who were like him, we would have no Savior and no salvation because there is no one like our God.
It’s not comfortable to reach out to the hurting. But it wasn’t comfortable for Jesus to leave heaven, stepping into our darkness either. As Christians, we’re not called to a life of comfort; we’re called to emulate Christ. His work on the cross was hard but good. So it is with the mom who bears her friend’s burden of infertility.
Ways to Welcome Women Grieving Childlessness
Pray for her often. Infertility brings new obstacles which may change each week. Ask for specific prayer requests regularly.
Check in on her. Allow her the space to choose what she shares with you. Spend less time worrying about what to say to help her, and more time listening.
Invite her to play-dates. Allow her to decide if she can handle it or not. Often the simple act of welcoming her is a comfort, even if she doesn't choose to come.
Intentionally create social gatherings that aren't centered around motherhood. Host a brunch or a coffee date where kids are welcome but not the focus.
Don't forsake the ministry of welcoming hurting couples into your home for fellowship and aI meal.
Childlessness doesn't equate to "babysitter." If a childless woman is pouring into your family, make sure you're not simply viewing her as another babysitter.
If your friend miscarries, set up a meal train. There's not be a baby to care for, but there is a weight of unbearable grief which comes when birth pains don't end in joy. Be aware of when your friend with infertility is undergoing a procedure, and offer to bring a meal.
Validate her grief by buying a gift in remembrance of her baby or checking on her on difficult holidays, anniversaries, etc.
Seek after your hurting friends and bring them near like Jesus would. Don’t withhold fellowship until they enter the “mom club.” God empowers us to do the hard-but-good-things he’s called us to. He draws near to the brokenhearted and so should we.
Brittany is a follower of Christ, wife to James, and mama to three in Heaven. She exists to bring God glory and prays her writing is an avenue for that. She longs to help other women see Jesus as their ultimate treasure. Find more of her writing at brittleeallen.com.